Melbourne Rebels wing Andrew Kellaway credits an unrelenting physical presence for his side’s breakthrough Super Rugby AU win against NSW at the SCG last Friday night.
Playing their third consecutive match away from AAMI Park, the visitors controlled the majority of the contest, giving Marika Koroibete the perfect celebration in what was his 50th Super Rugby game.
Kellaway says it was a special night getting the win for club, the city of Melbourne and their beloved teammate in Koroibete.
“Milestones are few and far between in rugby,” said the flying wing.
“To have a guy celebrate 50 games and not just any guy – everybody sees the special player he is – but we’re lucky enough to see the special guy he is.
“To be able to reward him I suppose with a win in his 50th was something that was really special for us to be able to give to him.
“He played outstanding as well, so it was awesome.”
A ferocious appetite for the contest from some of the Rebels younger players impressed Kellaway, especially considering the experienced backline they were up against.
“We were just physical, so physical.
“You saw Bones (Pone Fa'amausili) and Josh Kemeny who were fantastic and Trevor Hosea, Matty Philip – those guys really lead from the front and had a bit of hurt on that Waratah’s back which is no mean feat.
“You know those guys are really good footballers with some serious experience in that pack.
“Some of them were really young – Trevor and Josh Kemeny particularly – to come in and dish that performance against an experience pack, that was pretty cool for me to watch.”
After a stint in England, a return home proved wonders, with Kellaway setting Australian rugby alight scoring a competition best seven tries in the now abandoned Super Rugby competition.
With just days before his club’s fourth game of the new Super Rugby AU competition, the mercurial back will be looking to recapture his rich vein of form come Friday night at Leichhardt Oval.
“I’ve been disappointed with how I’ve been going personally which is always tough.
“When you have a good win it’s always hard to critique but I think it’s important.
“For me it’s about getting my hands on the ball more – which is a combination of things – and we’re working really hard as a unit to make sure we do that sort of stuff.
“I’m disappointed I haven’t been playing better, but there’s more to come.”
The Rebels next opponent is an old foe - the Western Force - who will be chasing their opening Super Rugby AU victory of the season after impressing upon their return to Super Rugby action this year.
Kellaway says he’s looking forward to Friday night’s challenge and the opportunity to close the gap at the top of the Super Rugby table.
“It’s a game of Super Rugby, so you’re always bracing yourself absolutely.
“The first few games the Force have played they’ve looked really, really good and were probably unlucky to not come away with the win against the Reds and the Waratahs."
The Rebels tackle the Force at 7:05pm this Friday night at Leichhardt Oval.